The last time Matt and Becca Hamilton faced off against Russia in mixed doubles curling was at the 2017 World Championships, a match in which they were defeated 7-5.
During Wednesday night’s opener of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Hamilton’s got their revenge in a big way, defeating Team OAR 9-3 in seven ends.
The Americans, or #HamFam as they’ve become known on Twitter, jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after Becca cleared the house with a double-takeout on the final throw of the end.
Team OAR got two back in the second, but from then on out it was all Team USA. The Hamiltons won by mere millimeters in the third, then were able to steal a point in the fourth to take a 5-2 lead midway through the game.
Team USA continued to add to their lead in the fifth by scoring two after Aleksandr Krushelnitckii burned a rock, continuing the woes of Team OAR and forcing them to use the power play in the sixth end. While OAR got a point back in the sixth off of the power play, their mistakes caught up to them. All the Hamiltons had to do was place a rock on a wide-open button in the seventh to get a six-point lead and force OAR to concede the final end.
USA 3 0 1 1 2 0 2 x – 9
OAR 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 x – 3
For nearly three straight weeks, curling dominated the Olympic airwaves, and while the U.S., Sweden and Canada all came away with gold medals, there were still plenty of highlights away from the ice.
In the mixed doubles tournament, fans were introduced to Team USA’s #HamFam, Matt and Becca Hamilton, who became instant sensations. Matt was even confused for some other celebrities, as people tried to nail down exactly who he looked like.
NBC Olympics staff selected three special performers from the enitre men’s tournament at the Olympics.
Eeli Tolvanen, Finland: The 18-year-old winger was the undisputed breakout star of the men’s tournament. Even though Finland was eliminated in the quarterfinals, Tolvanen’s tally of nine points still ranked second overall as he averaged nearly two points per game. He scored in his Olympic debut and also tallied two assists against eventual silver medalist Germany. He followed that up with two scores against Norway. Tolvanen paced his team past an energized South Korean team in the qualification playoffs, assisting in Finland’s opening three goals. After a sizzling Olympic performance, Tolvanen could be on his way to the NHL to help the Nashville Predators chase the Stanley Cup once again.
NBCOlympics.com: OAR defeat Germany to win hockey gold
Nikita Gusev, Olympic Athletes from Russia: The Vegas Golden Knights prospect tallied four goals and eight assists in just six games throughout the 2018 Winter Games. He also struck twice when it mattered most, helping OAR force OT in the gold-medal game. Trailing 3-2 in the final frame and playing shorthanded, Gusev was able to sneak a backhanded shot into the back of the net to knot the score with less than a minute remaining. Then, in the extra session, it was Gusev who made a beautiful cross-ice pass to set up the golden goal by Kirill Kaprizov.
NBCOlymipcs.com: Canada claim bronze with 6-4 over Czech Republic
Ryan Donato, United States: The 21-year-old Boston Bruins prospect was bright spot for Team USA despite the disappointing finish. The sniper lifted his team to a crucial preliminary-round victory over Slovakia, grabbing both goals in a 2-1 victory. He came back to haunt Slovakia again with two more scores in the qualification playoffs, and though the United States’ tournament came to an end in the quarterfinals against the Czech Republic, Donato notched one last goal in the 3-2 loss to finish with a team-leading five goals and six points. Donato, along with fellow collegiate athletes Troy Terry and Jordan Greenway, surprised many with their contributions on the ice. If management had known of their game-changing impact in advance, the American roster might have included more NCAA players.